The five-year military and economic agreement between Ankara and Skopje signed last week in Istanbul between the two countries’ defense ministers creates a new reality in the Balkans.
The agreement stipulates that Turkey will provide funds each year for Skopje to modernise its armed forces and increase its militancy.
In Greece, there are many who did not like the agreement, emphasising that now the Muslim arc has spread from one end of our northern border to the other, and Erdogan’s hand has embraced all our neighboring countries, namely Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Albania, while harshly criticizing the Prespa Agreement, emphasising that it has essentially collapsed while Greece secures the air space of the neighboring country.
One of them, the executive of the Free People Movement (foreign policy sector), Michalis Patsikas said: “The narrative of Tsipras and Kotzias and the SYRIZA-ANEL government that the Prespa Agreement will be essential has completely collapsed with Skopje going into the arms of Turkey by confirming a five-year agreement, along with all the others that have taken place.
“All this time, Turkey has been present with a donation of 7,500 uniforms to the Skopje army, with a donation of tank vehicles, etc.
“The statements of the Minister of Defense of Skopje are that Turkey is not a simple ally, but that it has a significant role. During his visit to Istanbul, he stated that he will also buy military equipment.”
He also estimates that while Greece signed the Prespa Agreement, where the neighbour’s name was settled and Greece took over the protection of their airspace, its anchor is now Turkish tanks – as well as Albania – are “a bomb in the foundations of the Balkans.”
“What is left in Greece? What remains is the betrayal, the concession of the name, the chores of the training of the Skopjan army and the protection of the airspace with the planes of Greece.
“The mockery remains.
“It turns out to be a bomb in the foundations of the Balkans because it is also a matter of peace what Erdoğan is doing, who has extended his long hand to both Skopje and Albania.
“Two of our allies in NATO are directly influenced by Erdoğan. Therefore, the Prespa Agreement completely collapses. It is a narrative that has nothing to do with democracy, peace or, of course, the historical truth we were shouting.”
For the encirclement of Greece by the Muslim arc of the Turkish President, analyst Georgios Karabelias said “It is obvious that Turkey is trying to encircle Greece with the Balkans and Skopje.
“It has such a strategy. To some extent Turkey has very good relations with Bulgaria so it can make an encircling move, which we will see where it will end up.
“However, it is important that he proceeded with such a thing (military agreement) as it shows how stupid the Prespa Agreement was on the part of Greece.
“At the same time, Greece is supposed to cover Skopje by air and go and make the agreement with Turkey.
“The Turks also use the Albanians of Skopje, who are pushing in this direction for relations with Turkey. The Albanians in general and of Kosovo and Albania have close relations with Turkey.
“I think they are expanding this Muslim arc which will surround all of Greece,” said Karabelias.